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Egypt's floating pound already a success- Sawiris

Egypt's floating pound already a success- Sawiris

Egypt

Egyptian construction tycoon, Samih Sawiris said the country’s decision to float its currency can be declared a success, adding it will take time for investment flows to return and revive its battered economy.

The most populous Arab state needs investment from people like the billionaire, who could put millions into the economy and help mobilise foreign investors.

The central bank floated the Egyptian pound in November to attract foreign capital. The pound consequently weakened from 8.8 pounds to the U.S. dollar to roughly 20 pounds in December.

Let's not be over emotional or over enthusiastic, the flotation has been declared a success literary only last week.

“Let’s not be over emotional or over enthusiastic, the flotation has been declared a success literary only last week the drain on central bank reserves to keep the pound from going down further stopped and actually the market that has declared the true value of the pound to be hovering around where it is now,” he said.

A member of Egypt’s richest family, Sawiris is chairman of Orascom Development Holding, which operates tourist resorts and real estate projects in Egypt and Europe.

Orascom Development is dual-listed on the Swiss and Egyptian stock exchanges, the company operates a total of 35 hotels with over 8,000 rooms and controls land of around 100 million square metres.

More than six years of political turmoil since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 has scared off investors and tourists.

A major blow came in 2015 when Islamic State brought down a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.

Sawiri said mixing money and politics is unfair and does not allow for a level playing field.

“You know we’ve made a lot of money in this country to give back some of it because I must be very blunt and honest about it, we paid very little taxes because of the huge tax exemptions that were given to investors to attract investments to the country. It’s not like we were burdened with 50 % taxes and on top of it we went out and did the Sawiris foundation,” he added.

Sawiris’s family controls the sprawling Orascom corporate empire founded by his father, Onsi. His brothers, Nassef and Naguib, are chief executive and chairman of Construction Industries and Orascom Telecom, respectively.
Orascom Development built two low-income housing projects in Cairo and the upper Egyptian city of Qena in 2007 and 2010.

Orascom Development built two low-income housing projects in Cairo and the upper Egyptian city of Qena in 2007 and 2010.

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